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January 2017 Newsletter 5 Non-Negotiables of Project-Based Learning Professional Development
By Peter DeWitt
Education Week

Feb 1, 2017- Running any form of professional development can be a daunting task, whether it is at the district level, at a conference, etc. At the beginning of the planning process, facilitators often don't have much more than a blank slate and a job such as, "You have [insert amount of time] to teach your audience about [insert topic]. Read more&

It's Time to Streamline Writing Expectations From Secondary to Higher Ed
By Starr Sackstein
Education Week

Jan 10, 2017- This morning I had a great conversation with a colleague about the inherent challenges of academic writing and teaching students to write it. As high school English teachers, it is our obligation to help students become "college ready" by preparing them to write academically. However, academic writing is far different than a lot of other kinds of writing, and transferring skills isn't as easy as it seems for our current students. Read more

Preschool Linked to Success on Global Math Test
By Sarah Sparks
Education Week

Jan. 10, 2017- The latest results of the Program for International Student Assessment give tantalizing hints of the connections between students' early-childhood education and their later math scores. A new international test may provide more insights into what those connections mean for policy, but experts warn that it remains hard to tell what the United States can learn from other countries' approaches to preschool. Read more

New Grants Available for Out-of-School Programs Serving Middle School Students
By Marva Hinton
Education Week

Jan. 12, 2017- A new grant competition opened up this week for out-of-school time programs serving middle school students. The Aim High grant competition will provide $1.95 million over three years to out-of-school time, or OST, programs serving disadvantaged young people.  Read more

Shared Leadership for Deeper Learning
By Tom Vander Ark
Education Week

Jan. 18, 2017- If we took it seriously that we needed to prepare all students for the 21st century, what would school look like? For starters, we may not be focused on tests or grades. We may instead help students tap their own intrinsic motivation and turn schools into opportunities to do projects and become increasingly more self-directed. We also may place an emphasis on social and emotional learning and collaboration. Read more

With More Exposure to Science, English-Learners' Achievement Soared
By Corey Mitchell
Education Week

Jan. 19, 2017- Integrating innovative science courses and English-language instruction can dramatically boost student achievement and test scores in the sciences, along with reading, and writing, according to a new study from the Oakland, Calif.-based Education Trust West. The report, "Unlocking Learning: Science as a Lever for English Learner Equity," explored how six districts, ranging from rural to urban and all with sizable English-learner populations, taught science to the students. Read more

Competency-Based Learning: A Dropout Prevention Strategy?
By Catherine Gewertz
Education Week

Jan. 19, 2017- Do high schools use competency-based education—judging student progress by mastery, not seat time—as a dropout prevention strategy? The answer, according to a survey by the U.S. Department of Education, is yes. The department found that one-third of high schools offer competency-based flexibility to students. Read more

Making the Elimination of Excellence Gaps an Educational Priority
By Jonathan Plucker and Scott J. Peters
Harvard Education Publishing Group

Jan. 9, 2017- Katie and Susan are both precocious nine year-olds attending the same elementary school. Both have grown up in the same town, and both are considered proficient according to grade-level standards. Where they differ is in that before starting school, Susan received three years of high-quality early childhood education as well as private, full-day preschool and a range of other enriched, informal learning experiences at home. Katie did not. Read more
Bowser proposes ‘walkability preference’ to make charter school choice easier in D.C.
By Julia Brouillette
Washington Times

Jan. 30, 2017- ID.C. Public Schools students next year will be allowed to gain preferential admission to high-performing charter schools in their neighborhoods, thanks to a change in the city’s school lottery system. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday proposed the “walkability preference” policy, which would allow charter schools to give preference in admissions to elementary school children living within a half-mile, beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year. Read more

Charter performance on new test promising
By Ramona Edelin
C The Northwest Current

Jan 25, 2017- (pg 9) As the March 1 lottery deadline approaches for charter and out-of-boundary D.C. Public Schools for pre-K through eighth grades, performance in both sectors is up. The on-time high school graduation rates in the District have improved over last year, to 69 percent for the traditional public schools, and 72 percent for D.C.’s pub- lic charter schools. And there’s been a similar trend of continued improvement by students taking the city’s new standardized tests. Read more

Suspensions and expulsions in D.C. schools decrease, but racial disparities persist
By Alejandra Matos
Washington Post

Feb 2, 2017- Fewer students are being expelled or sent home for misbehaving in D.C. public schools and public charter schools, a new study from the city government shows. In the 2015-2016 school year, 7,324 students in the District were suspended from school, according to a report last month from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, or OSSE. Read more

New rules aim to fix problem of thousands of student transfers during school year
By Alejandra Matos
Washington Post

Jan 30, 2017- On the first day of school, Tanya Roane, principal at D.C.’s Cardozo Education Campus, tells her students that she expects them to be in class on time, that cellphones will be confiscated during the school day and that they must focus on their studies. But for Roane and her staff, the entire year often feels like the first day of school. Read more

Obama administration spent billions to fix failing schools, and it didn’t work
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

Jan 19, 2017- One of the Obama administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results, according to a federal analysis. Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program — the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools — than in schools that did not. Read more

D.C. Parents to Discuss Education, Share Stories with Policy Makers
By Business Wire

Jan 19, 2017- WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Parents from about 100 families will meet with D.C. Councilmembers and the Mayor’s Office at nine breakfasts and luncheons during National School Choice Week. The events will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25 and Monday, Jan. 30 in the John A. Wilson Building in D.C. Parents and elected officials will attend ward-based meals to foster conversation and understanding about education options. Read more

District’s charter and traditional school principals to work together to solve problems
By Alejandra Matos
Washington Post

Jan 12, 2017- Principals from the District’s traditional public schools and public charter schools will spend the next 11 months learning how to better manage their schools — working together — as part of a program aimed at improving school leadership across the city. Read more

The future of education reform
By Ramona Edelin
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Dec 13, 2016- With confirmation hearings for Betsy DeVos, the president-elect’s nominee for secretary of education, to begin shortly, the transition from one administration to another is an opportune moment to mark how far education reform has come — and the challenges that lie ahead. Read more

D.C.’s school choice success
By Ramona Edelin

Jan 25, 2017- This week is National School Choice Week, an umbrella for a vast number of different organizations to come together to educate lawmakers and the public about school choice. Challenges to employment from technology and globalization are ever more evident, making the search for solutions to substandard public education, especially in urban America, increasingly important. Read more

Race gaps in SAT math scores are as big as ever
By Richard V. Reeves
Education Week

Feb 1, 2017- Education has long been cast as the “great equalizer” of American society. Post-secondary colleges, and in particular public universities, are especially prized as engines of upward mobility. As recent research by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, Emmanuel Saez, Nicholas Turner, and Danny Yagan shows, some institutions are more effective in this regard than others.Read more

Should There Be a 5th C in the Partnership for 21st-Century Learning?
By Peter DeWitt
Education Week

Jan 8, 2017- Critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication are not new words for us. Let's take collaboration for example. It's a word that we hear constantly and is at risk of being a buzz word that teachers and leaders are tired of hearing, because not everyone likes to collaborate. Sometimes it seems like collaboration when in reality one person is doing all the work. Read more
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